Brown’s Critical Race Theory (CRT) column is right-wing propaganda

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Steve Brown’s recent column on Fayette schools and the culture wars was both misleading and disturbing. I have known the last two school superintendents very well. Both are fine men. There is no cause to be worried our superb local schools being involved in the cultural wars.

One of the things Brown brought up is CRT, a legal theory. Some scholars believe that racism is solidly “embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system.” and that many racist actions are simply the natural result of systemic bias as manifested via our historical laws and policies.

A while back, I received correspondence from Morton Blackwell, President of the “Leadership Institute,” a right-wing DC organization designed to brainwash future conservative leaders. Blackwell stated that CRT “kills the American Dream” and will be used by “leftists” to “indoctrinate children to hate America.” Sounds like the Brown column.

Blackwell’s totally incorrect on both points, as explained below. But, due to the media and folks like Brown, Fayette officials can’t just say “we don’t teach that here” and expect to be believed, even though it is true.

Fox mentioned CRT an amazing 1,300 times between March 1st and June 15th of 2022.

As Briahna Joy Gray (Bernie Sanders press secretary for his national presidential campaign) said, critics on the right have “very specific kind of political goals in mind” when it comes to CRT.

CRT’s yet another easy target since few understand what CRT means. As the American Bar Association (ABA) states, CRT “cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice.” In a broader sense, CRT defines the relationship of people of color (not just blacks) to American society, helping to achieve the long-term goal of racial and social justice.

As for black history, the underlying truth (that right-wing groups want to obscure) is that Americans have been taught very little about: a. slavery itself, b. the true cause of the Civil War, or c. the historical as well as continuing effects of slavery on African Americans.

And much of what is taught is inaccurate and biased (especially in the South), which is exactly what groups like the “Leadership Institute” desire. Clearly, learning the facts about the above is not something that thought leaders on the right want school children to know, whether you call it CRT or something else.

Plus, there’s a strong backlash undercurrent among insecure white men who are visibly afraid of the inevitably changing demographics of our nation and the longer-term empowerment of people of color. Spurred on by the actions and words of former President Trump, this political factor has led to politicians in 26 states introducing bills or regulations restricting the teaching of CRT. Many of these states have already operationalized CRT bans.

Given the dominance of Fox among GOP viewers, and that network’s constant blurring of news and political opinion, I am skeptical about the prospects of accurately teaching the history of racism. My children and grandchildren are descendants of Confederate soldiers. They should have an accurate historical picture of why that war was fought. This is not being taught now in our some of our nation’s schools … although it most certainly should be.

In the meantime, the right-wing culture war propagandists like Brown will repeat misunderstood woke phrases like CRT. It’s up to all of us to fight back by calling out these propagandists.

Jack Bernard

Peachtree City, Ga.

24 COMMENTS

  1. I’m just a simi ‘literate country boy and I’ve tried to follow these lofty points and counter points.
    All I know is that the Democrats, James Buchanan’s Democrat policy of pro slavery in particular, led us into the Civil War and during reconstruction the Democrats instituted “Jim Crow” laws that I remember as a boy.
    The Republicans are the only ones today that are against racism…. Democrats are race baiters who will destroy our unity as a nation.
    Noone can challenge me on this true history.
    If you are a Democrat…please read and learn your history…. you are being deceived and used for your vote and weakened as a free-thinking American.

    • Mr. Hardy – I agree with your assessment of James Buchanan, the worst president ever, even worse than Pierce, A. Johnson, Harding, and Trump – collectively the worst 5 in our history according to the latest CSPAN ratings from historians. I also agree that Democrats were the party that fostered and maintained Jim Crow.

      We part history in the mid-1960s after L. Johnson pushed through the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act on his party. Nixon parlayed this into his “Southern Strategy,” and the political tables turned. However, I do not believe that the current Republicans as against people of color. They advocate a return to traditional societal standards – no matter who that leaves out – and enhancement of “green” whoever has their pockets full of it. It makes for more parsimonious messaging that many find comforting.

      Free-thinking is, thankfully, not limited to only one political party. Indeed, I wish both parties would abandon their limited perspectives and work together for “we the people” rather than “our base only.” I think this is what James Madison had in mind during the Constitutional Convention.

    • Seeing you are a fan of the 16th President (Abe Lincoln) and likewise intrigued by history and politics, perhaps you should contribute to The Lincoln Project. It’s a fairly new PAC (2019) that has a simple goal in mind of wanting to bring about a “stronger unity” within this country as you mentioned. And of course, they attempt to deceive no one in their mission.

  2. Your responses prove my point. “CRT: it’s not happening and it’s a good thing that it is.”

    All you brought to the discussion was denial and name-calling. Pretty weak.

    Yes, CRT started as a law school theory, but it has been mainstreamed as one of the key parts of Wokeism. Of course no one calls it CRT. As I said, it is presented with the soft-sounding terms such as diversity, social justice and equity. Who could be against that?

    But at its root, it calls for the fundamental change of our institutions and American values.

    Ibram X Kendi, one of the leading voices for CRT, argues in his book, “How To Be An Anti-Racist” that the power of government laws and regulations must be changed to assure racial equity (equal outcomes), even at the expense of discriminating against others. “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination”

    Kendi also wants to tear down the economic system that has raised more out of poverty than any other system: “To love capitalism is to end up loving racism. And to love racism is to end up loving capitalism” and “in order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anticapitalist.”

    Keep in mind that BLM leaders are self-described “trained Marxists”.

    Not in our schools? Ask Virginia parents who elected a governor largely on pushback to control over divisive curricula. And the National Education Association last year came out in support of teaching CRT.

    Chatham County (NC) Schools recently implemented a required 2-day “white privilege” training for senior administrators, and a mandatory 2.5 hour equity training for all teachers and counselors.

    Or the military? According to a recent NY Post article, CRT is taught at West Point. The course claims whiteness “is a location of structural advantage, of race privilege.” How does this help unit cohesion and make the US the best military in the world?

    The government? In September, Kamala Harris said federal emergency relief funds for Hurricane Ian would be distributed on the basis of racial equity. According to the NY Post, the Sandia National Laboratories, which design America’s nuclear arsenal, sent white male executives to a three-day offsite camp where they were told that “white male culture” was analogous to the “KKK,” “white supremacists” and “mass killings.” The executives were then forced to renounce their “white male privilege” and to write letters of apology to fictitious women and people of color.

    Any Google search will bring up dozens of examples of CRT and related diversity / social justice / equity in schools, government, Corporate America and the military from across the US.

    This is not the American Dream, and it’s not the world MLK painted in words for us. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    I don’t believe you raise someone up by tearing down others. That’s what CRT does, and it must stop.

  3. Well said and truly sad that it needed to be said. That people like Brown have a megaphone to spew such vile propaganda and readers who share his views is really a shame and a microcosm of what ails America currently. I hope that more people like Jack speak out and are able to be heard in this age of misinformation and culture wars.

  4. Mr Bernard’s theme seems to be: Critical Race Theory – It’s not happening, but it’s a good thing that it is.

    His definition of CRT is as solid as jello nailed to a wall. He tells us that CRT “cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice.” What?

    Here’s what CRT is in a nutshell: it’s identity-based Marxism. It’s a belief that our Constitution, laws, education, capitalism, etc. are all systemically racist institutions that must be fundamentally changed. As such, everything is viewed through the lens of race. White people are oppressors, everyone else is the oppressed.

    Rather than provide facts or logic to support his view on CRT, Mr Bernard throws around insults, stereotypes and his own virtue-signals.

    Does he believe in the American dream — the idea that no matter our origins, each of us could succeed in life through education, hard work and good citizenship? Does he believe in MLK’s dream — where we treat each other as individuals and brothers created equal under our God?

    From what I read, that’s not likely.

    He seems comfortable with the CRT idea that everyone is primarily a racial category. Instead of equality of opportunity, CRT wants “equity”, or equal outcomes, regardless of skill or effort. Any unequal outcome is blamed on “systemic racism” rather than an individual’s intelligence, ability, determination, culture, personal decisions, etc.

    CRT goes by innocent euphemisms like “diversity”, “social justice” and the similar to equality sounding “equity”. These can easily be found in our public schools and government, our military and Corporate America.

    Mr Bernard, CRT is happening, it divides us and it’s not a good thing for America.

    • Yikes. You know, it’s okay to acknowledge that black people in America have been royally screwed since they were forcibly brought here. It’s also okay to acknowledge that black people in this country have numerous built-in disadvantages because of their historical treatment. Just because they now can vote and go to the same schools and can’t be discriminated against doesn’t mean that they are all of the sudden born on an equal footing with their white counterparts. Generations of damage from being locked out of the economy and being discriminated against doesn’t just evaporate because we want it to. All of this is okay to acknowledge without dividing us. Learning about these things makes us better people.

      As far as CRT is concerned, it’s whatever anyone wants it to be and it’s neither here nor there. It’s taught in a handful of graduate law programs to a tiny fraction of students interested in it and is taught as a theory. Recently right-wing personalities have used it as a catch-all for what they see as part of the cause of a morally corrupted youth that sees through policies that only benefit the 1%.

      It’s okay to learn about historical injustices that have real life implications today. It’s scary to think that teachers are afraid to teach their students about civil rights and the cause of the civil war. We need our kids to learn about these things regardless of their race. And learning about America’s mistakes doesn’t teach our kids to hate America, it teaches them vital lessons learning from these mistakes and helps them to continue to strive to the founders dream of a more perfect union.

      • Thank you, trailsbeforewhales (and Jack Bernard as well).

        I agree with your sentiments. And it reminded me of an interview I heard recently on NPR with Scott Simon. He questioned Tracie D. Hall, head of The American Library Association (who is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from National Book Awards).

        Scott asks, “What might you say to family members who will say quite sincerely…I just don’t want my child upset or shaken up or even hurt by something they read?”.

        Ms. Hall responded, “That’s what books and art and good media does. It takes us outside ourselves…that’s the roll of reading, to move you, to shake you up and to make you someone new.

        She goes on, “And so I would say to anybody who said to me, I don’t want my child shaken up, I would say that we want to create people who can be with other people. And the only way we do that is by allowing ourselves to come into contact with other thoughts and ways of living.”

        Young people can not only handle the truth; they can benefit from it.
        They can be better than us.
        Give them a chance.

          • Hello HT600–
            I daresay you are correct—NPR reporting does seem to embrace a tolerant and inclusive worldview (without sacrificing accuracy, I would argue). Which I appreciate. And support!

          • Suz, I know you are smarter than that but if it makes you feel better to pretend that I wrote otherwise, I’m here for you. I don’t trust either of those news platforms.

          • Hi Again Hometown600–
            My apologies. I didn’t intentionally mis-state your opinion; I was in agreement with you! That is, NPR leans toward liberal views (as opposed to Fox News being conservative)–both biased, as you say.

            However, while you find both of them wanting…I choose to align with NPR (and trust it’s news coverage). Personally, all choices in my life seem to come down to, “What is most charitable? What is most kind?”

            When I err (and I often do), let it be on the side of gracious Love.

    • My.02 – CRT is a graduate level theory of ethno-influence upon society. It has nothing to do with Marxism and certainly is not taught in the K-12 level in any school here. Although we have excellent students in our county schools, graduate education is still a bit of a reach for t hem.

      But keep on watching Fox News and reporting what you hear without a filter. That will keep you and all of your fellow viewers scared to death. Joseph McCarthy must be looking up from hell loving this hysteria over absolutely nothing.